TAMPA — The “Vote No on 2” campaign fighting legalization of medical marijuana is circulating a video that shows pro-pot kingpin John Morgan in some not-so-compassionate moments during a post-debate party last week.
In what appears to be a cell-phone video shot at the Boots ’n’ Buckles Saloon in Lakeland after Morgan debated Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Thursday night, the Orlando-based trial lawyer addresses a pro-pot crowd with a microphone in one hand and a drink in the other.
“If you don’t (expletive deleted) get up and vote, (expletive deleted) it all, we can’t win, I’m telling you,” he declared to the boisterous group. “If you don’t get out of your (expletive deleted) bed and vote, we will lose this election.”
The “No on 2” folks jabbed Morgan for his profanity-laced remarks, but also pointed to other statements that they claim reveal Morgan’s true intention – ultimately, full legalization of marijuana.
Morgan told the crowd, “I didn’t smoke a piece of grass all the way here. But I’ll tell you this, once I get outside the borders of Polk County, I might smoke a lot of grass.”
Sarah Bascom, spokeswoman for Vote No On 2, said the video, “in all of its offensive glory, shows John Morgan’s real reasons behind his campaign to legalize marijuana. Their campaign has tried to be the moral authority on compassion, but clearly, their chairman fell off the wagon.”
The No on 2 campaign sent reporters covering the medical marijuana issue a link to an edited version of Morgan’s remarks posted on YouTube. A longer version appeared last week on the SaintPetersBlog political website, including laudatory remarks toward Judd and stories of his family members’ health struggles.
Florida would become the 24th state along with the District of Columbia to legalize some form of medical marijuana if Amendment 2 garners at least 60 percent approval on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Morgan has been the chief backer of the effort, donating nearly $4 million to the cause. His “Morgan and Morgan, for the people” catchphrase runs regularly on television and billboards.
In a statement released Tuesday, Morgan downplayed the video.
“Some of my speeches will be G-rated and some will be X-rated. Some will be humorous and tongue in cheek,” he said.
Morgan noted he was speaking to young voters whose turnout will be critical.
“While this is not language I use in church, my message is the same one. Very sick people need our help. The Florida legislators refused to even hear testimony, much less vote.
“My comments at the end of the unedited video are what is important. This is for my brother and hundreds of thousands of people like him. I am not a user of marijuana. As I said, ‘I am not a marijuana guy.’ This is about compassion. It will not be the last time you hear a speech from me that jokes around with the crowd nor will it be the last time you hear a speech with profanity. I am not running for office and never will. That allows me to tell the truth and motivate the way I see fit.”